For first time buyers, finding shipping containers can sometimes be surprisingly difficult. Who knew that tracking down something which weighs over 4,000 pounds could be this difficult? Buying containers online can be risky because you can’t inspect them before you purchase. We are going to walk you through how to find your local shipping container suppliers, so you can buy your containers in person.
Knowing Which Container to Buy
Before you buy your shipping containers, you need to know exactly which containers you are looking to purchase. We won’t go into this in much detail in this post because we have already covered it in How to Purchase Your Shipping Containers and Shipping Container Dimensions.
First, decide whether you are going to buy either new, one trip, or used containers. New containers and one trip containers are very similar since the one trip containers have only been used to ship a single cargo load. \
When purchasing your containers, try to purchase them all from the same manufacturer. Each manufacturer has slight variations which could make working with different brand containers difficult.
Buying Online or Offline
It is much more convenient to purchase your containers online since this saves you travel time. However, you can’t thoroughly inspect containers bought online. For this reason, we would recommend only purchasing containers which you have seen in person and thoroughly inspected. You can find a pre-purchase inspection checklist here.
From Whom Should You Buy?
We have placed a heavy focus throughout the article on buying containers from a reputable distributor, or dealer, however, you can also purchase directly from shipping companies.
We would not recommend this option for two reasons. Buying directly from shipping companies is typically more expensive. Buying directly from shipping companies is normally not as easy as buying from distributors.
Finding Shipping Containers
Finding Containers Online
To find your local container dealer, a good source is the Green Cube Network’s Eco, Green and Sustainable Resource Directory. This is basically a search engine which can be used for free to find local dealers. You can access it here: http://www.greencubenetwork.org/shipping-container-dealers_3/. Once the tool has loaded, you can enter your address (either a country or a state) and the tool will provide a list of local dealers. All you need to do now is search online and look for any reviews of the dealer to make sure they are credible.
If you are based outside the US, there are still ways to track down a shipping container dealer near you.
Remember when doing your research that, with Google, results are localized. If you are looking for container dealers in the US, use the US Google www.google.com. If you are looking outside of the US, make sure to use your local Google, such as www.google.com.au or www.google.co.uk.
Once you have loaded your local Google, use the search term ‘shipping container dealer’ and your location. When putting this into Google it would look like: Shipping Container Dealer Perth.
This should give you a pretty good start. However, if you are using this term and struggle to find any local dealers, try a different search such as ‘buy shipping container in’ and your location. When searching this in Google it would look like: buy shipping container in Wellington.
If you are still researching, look at your local eBay site, such as: http://www.ebay.com.au.
Once your search has loaded you can type in your location and set a maximum distance in miles (i.e. only show items up to 50 miles away).
This should now bring up a list of all your local sellers. If necessary, increase the maximum distance number. After you have a list of dealers, contact them directly to inquire about the specific containers you want to purchase.
If desired, continue your search using your country’s version of www.gumtree.com, which is a local classified ads directory. As with all of the search engines, don’t search for a specific container, but rather search for the broader category of “shipping containers” first, and then ask specific questions of the dealer later.
Another online tool is found here: http://www.alibaba.com. If you haven’t heard of Alibaba before, it’s similar to Amazon but based in China and brings manufacturers and consumers together.
Alibaba usually lists only new containers. In addition, many of the containers listed here are based in China which will cost you extra transportation costs. This is very expensive and is probably not the best choice unless you are buying multiple containers.
Finding Containers Offline
If you have used all the tools above and are still struggling to find containers, there are still a few traditional techniques to locate containers.
Search a regional or national business directory or telephone yellow page directory, either in print or online.
If there are no listings in your local business directory, then you can call other container dealers in your country. Ask if they know any dealers in your local area.
A final technique which you could use is contacting your closest shipping docks. Give them a quick phone call and inquire whether they personally sell shipping containers or if they have a list of recognized dealers.
With these different methods, you should easily be able to find a local shipping container dealer and purchase your containers.
If you have any other tips or tricks for locating shipping containers, let us know.